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Zachary Quinto Came Out Partially Because Of Jamey Rodemeyer’s Suicide

It turns out that Heroes and Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto’s recent coming out happened in part because of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and the bullycide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer.

You may recall that Quinto dedicated his somber “It Gets Better” video to the senseless and heartbreaking bullycides of Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, and countless other kids who could no longer endure any more hatred and ridicule.

Today on his personal blog, Quinto explained that Rodemeyer’s suicide made him question the impact any person can have on LGBT rights, when living in the closet.

when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself – i felt deeply troubled. but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life – i felt indescribable despair. i also made an it gets better video last year – in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time. but in light of jamey’s death – it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.

our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country. gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance. we are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. we are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government. i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society – and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action.

jamey rodemeyer’s life changed mine. and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner – i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. that – i believe – is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.

And in the New York Magazine interview where he came out, Quinto also attributed his recent thinking on LGBT politics in part to playing Louis Ironson in Tony Kushner’s “gay fantasia with national themes” Angels in America. In the play, Quinto portrayed a 1985 Jewish New Yorker who abandons his AIDS-afflicted partner and begins sleeping with a closeted, married Republican Mormon. Ironson eventually repents for his unjust cruelty, but his transformation helps form some of the play’s bigger political and moral questions.

Quinto told New York Magazine:

Doing that play made me realize how fortunate I am to have been born when I was born. And to not have to witness the decimation of an entire generation of amazingly talented and otherwise vital men. And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like I — there’s still so much work to be done. There’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed. The undercurrent of that fear and that, you know, insidiousness still is swarming. It’s still all around us….

But Quinto came out late in the interview when connecting the Occupy Wall Street riots to Rodemeyer’s death (emphasis ours):

… I think it’s a really tenuous time for our country. I don’t know what will happen going into this election year. It seems like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street — there’s such tremendous disparity right now. It’s like, you have the legalization of gay marriage in the state of New York and three months later you have Jamey Rodemeyer killing himself, yet another gay teenager bullied into taking his own life. And, you know, again, as a gay man, I look at that and say there’s a hopelessness that surrounds it. But as a human being, I look at it and say, “Why? Where is this disparity coming from and why can’t we as a culture, as a society, dig deeper to examine it?” We’re terrified of facing ourselves, we’re terrified of what we’ll find and so, instead, we seem to waste time and energy with small-mindedness and intolerance and with bigotry and with hatred and with fear.

Quinto provides a fresh face and an eloquent voice in the continuing fight for LGBT rights. And while we will undoubtedly face further heartbreak on the road to full equality, we will also experience many small but heart-lifting moments like when we see anti-LGBT ballot measures fail, save the lives of bullied children, and empower other LGBTs to begin living life as their open, honest selves.

Image via preloc and kanar

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Oct 18, 2011
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • 48 Comments
    • Drew
      Drew

      It won’t be that hard for him…he’s a star and has lots of money. People will accept him without any bias just based on that. Average gay Americans don’t have the support of a huge tv & film-star fan-base. Yes, it will get better…at least for Zachary Quinto.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SBC19
      SBC19

      He’ll always be the quirky sidekick or play the extra character in the scene.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pioneer to the falls
      pioneer to the falls

      Meanwhile, Anderson Cooper did a special on bullying, played coy with an interviewer who asked about his sexuality, and then spent National Coming Out Day partying at his boyfriend’s bar (while failing to come out). Zachary’s explanation on how hypocritical it is to do an It Gets Better video without coming out is totally correct.

      Anyway, will his boy Colton be coming out any time soon, or does he have to keep pretending to be interested in girls?

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallest
      tallest

      @SBC19: What are you talking about? He was Mr. Spock ffs.

      And while it’s great and all that he came out, Idk, it just feels like too little too late for someone who could have done and could be doing so much more.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ~PR~
      ~PR~

      it doesn’t matter how and when celebrities come out… there will always be bitter queens bitching about something!

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Congrats to Quinto for coming out. Good for you!

      To all his fans that used to bitch on here that he was actually “Out”, when we complained that he was closeted….guess he just proved you were all liars. Can’t come out if you’re already out can you.

      He is going to be one of the stars in the next Star Trek film proving all those bigoted publists wrong when they tell their clients they’ll never work again if they come out.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dev
      Dev

      @~PR~: You got that right!
      @SBC19: He stars in one of the largest movie franchises in history and you make silly comments on 3rd rate gay blogs – hysterical.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red Meat
      Red Meat

      @pioneer to the falls: Then it would be really awkward when Cooper hosts the Vegas republican debate on Tuesday.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iDavid
      iDavid

      In your own good time. I have much respect for you. Bravo Quinto. Bravo.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting
      Interesting

      He deserves major respect for not only coming out, but how he choose to use it as a teaching moment to help other gays. Major props to him.

      Oct 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      Wow. I have such a great amount of respect for him right now.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 12:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SBC19
      SBC19

      @Dev:

      Yeah…thanks to timing. Had he come out before being cast as Spock, I doubt he would have gotten the part. He probably won’t lose the jobs he’s already been hired for…but lets see how many new leading roles he lands after this.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 12:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting
      Interesting

      @SBC19: he doesn’t play the leading man. he will do okay just like every non-lead does.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 1:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ernst
      Ernst

      @PR: Have you looked at the internet? It’s where people go to nitpick stuff and complain. The fact that you think the people who do that on this site are automatically “bitchy queens” rather than just “people on the internet” seems to say more about you than about them.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 1:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jacob
      Jacob

      @tallest:

      Get real! Quintos is not responsible for the life or death of any kid who commits suicide, etc. It’s ridiculous to lay blame at the feet of an actor. He’s just a B-list actor with some fame. Whoopee-doo! There are a ton of other actors, politicians, activists, scientists, etc. who are out.

      @Red Meat:

      Please! Every one of those GOP hate-bots know that Cooper is gay. Hell, many of those same potential haters-in-chief have gay staff, who, like Herman Cain, try their best to hide that fact. They’re happy to use homophobia to get elected and govern because it’s all about power. Their gay toadies are happy to participate because they become part of the protected elite.

      Gag!

      Oct 17, 2011 at 1:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      There is nothing vibrant about being a closeted homosexual. Strength comes from being yourself and openly gay men and lesbian women are a force of Love and Power when truly ALIVE.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 9:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @pioneer to the falls: some would argue Anderson Cooper is OUT. He doesn’t have to behave any differently than you just because he is a well known person. It appears he is doing everything you would consider doing and i take it that you consider yourself openly gay. He lives with his partner. He dances at his partners gay bar on National Coming Out Day? What actually is it you want him to do?

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      @Jacob: “Just a B-list actor” Oh I see the only important thing is money and status. Really solid Moral Center you’ve got there.

      As for Mr. 360 there’s a huge differecne between “Everyone Knows” and being out and proud.

      “Everyone Knows” about Quinto’s Margin Call co-star Kevin Spacey too. But unlike Quinto, Spacey isn’t out and has no plans to come out.

      Ever.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BubbasBack
      BubbasBack

      @pioneer to the falls: I agree with ya sonny… That Anderson Chicken Coop is really the lowest by hosting those specials and not being out as a role model for gay youth everywhere. He wants to have it both ways. Like he needed the money since he’s a trust-fund baby. Shame on that big-eared pinhead. Burp.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JoeyB
      JoeyB

      @SBC19: Guess what? Most casting directors are gay. And agents, and publicists, and executives, and directors, and the actors, of course. If they all said one day “Enough” and came out and spoke openly about who they are, there would be a major cultural shift here, changing preconceptions, showing the power of gays in media and entertainment, acting as examples of people who can succeed. Instead. our very wealthy “brothers” hide under the poisonous veneer of pretense so they can continue being rich and famous. So if Quinto doesn’t get the “leading roles” you mention, expect a loooot of gays to be responsible for that. We are our own worst enemy many times.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CLK
      CLK

      @JoeyB: But sadly the studios that back the projects financially will not back a large movie with a leading man or action hero that is totally out. Bottom line is finance.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 11:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • barry
      barry

      well I guess Zach can enjoy some serious cock now, guilt free

      Oct 17, 2011 at 11:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iDavid
      iDavid

      Funny—–Little Kiwi nowhere to be found? I’m sure he must have some more tedious huffy words about controlling Quinto’s personal life.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ~PR~
      ~PR~

      @Ernst: hey… if the stereotype fits…

      Oct 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      @Ernst: “Have you looked at the internet? It’s where people go to nitpick stuff and complain.”

      That some people seem to go on the internet just to bitch + complain about everything says more about them than it does PR for calling them on it. Does the actual phrase “bitchy queens” offend some? Perhaps. Semantics aside, though, people complained that Zach didn’t come out. Now, he’s come out + they complain that it wasn’t fast enough or give half-hearted congrats with the warning that he’s just tanked his career for being honest. Does it make them bitchy queens? Depends who you ask. Either way, it’s fucking stupid.

      P.S. Good job, Zach. I can only hope that your ‘Heroes’ co-star, Milo V., is also playing for our team. ; }

      Oct 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      Everybody needs to get a grip. I wonder if some gay man who spends his life openly gay all of a sudden finds fame and fortune is he only coming out of the closet as a gay man the first time he has a platform to say so. I DON’T FUCKING THINK SO. This shit sometimes gets so shallow i had to say something.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M
      M

      @CLK: So are you saying Paramount isn’t going to finance the next Star Trek picture because Quinto came out of the closet?

      Do you realize that Sony green-lit The Smurfs for well over $100,000,000 and it was essentially Neil Patrick Harris who was out selling that movie?

      BTW, the movie has grossed over half a billion worldwide.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CLK
      CLK

      @M: Leading Man, Lead Star, Action Hero – Zach nor NPH (LOL) fit the bill in their movies as leads…

      Oct 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marty
      Marty

      Strange that Quinto was moved to come out because of the gay bullying issue, but Anderson Cooper, someone who reports on the subject often, still stays silent about his own sexuality.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAINTOM
      PLAINTOM

      A class act.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • zach
      zach

      fucking gay fag

      Oct 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @zach: you dumb polack.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • n900mixalot
      n900mixalot

      @ewe: Seriously. Why does it take a celebrity to make a difference? Why are we more likely to listen to media whores than the people we interact with daily? My gay heroes are not celebs, but are the cops, teachers, and coworkers who do their best to be positive examples of achievement for up and coming LGBT folks.

      Quinto is an excellent actor though and good for him but I don’t KNOW him well enough to fall over and pee my pants over the news.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      @n900mixalot: It’s more of an impact when a celebrity comes out, obviously, because a celebrity reaches more people with their news than your mailman would. Also, since when does being a celebrity have to equate with being a “media whore”? Naturally, a person who aspires to be famous enjoys the spotlight, but is that somehow unexpected or worthy of ridicule nowadays?

      Oct 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      every gay person that comes out publicly should be commented for it. they’re part of the Solution.

      Quinto’s message is beautiful, perfectly worded and utterly encapsulates the reality of how Coming Out is the most important First Step to erasing this culture of homophobia and anti-gay bigotry. Seriously, I’m incredibly impressed with Quinto’s honesty – this is one of the most emotionally honest coming out statements I’ve yet read. I’m very touched.

      I know it will empower and inspire more people to do the same and lead truly authentic lives.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      every gay person that comes out publicly should be commended for it. they’re part of the Solution.

      Quinto’s message is beautiful, perfectly worded and utterly encapsulates the reality of how Coming Out is the most important First Step to erasing this culture of homophobia and anti-gay bigotry. Seriously, I’m incredibly impressed with Quinto’s honesty – this is one of the most emotionally honest coming out statements I’ve yet read. I’m very touched.

      I know it will empower and inspire more people to do the same and lead truly authentic lives.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UWSguy
      UWSguy

      I love him even more now

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallest
      tallest

      @Jacob: Oh gosh, did I say Quinto not coming out was the cause of every gay teenager’s suicide? How horribly misleading of me. Oh wait, no… I just said his coming out is not that much and he can do more. He’s got the money and a large enough fan base to be getting a pro-equality message out there. All he’s done is a watery “It Gets Better” video and a slip of a coming out. He could do more.

      Oct 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      tallest…can you specifically state what “more” he could, or should, be doing?

      specifics, please. thanks.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 12:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallest
      tallest

      Little Kiwi… um, did you miss the part where I said he could use his money and fan base to spread a pro-equality message. Something more proactive than lamenting the woes of the earth with some magazine journalist.

      He could open a shelter for gay teens and young adults, or at least help fund one, that’d really make an impact.

      I don’t know specifically what all he could do, but I know coming out isn’t all he can do to help.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 1:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iDavid
      iDavid

      Little Kiwi,

      You recently severely bashed Quint for not coming out. You were nothing short of vicious, and now you call him “brother”. Wow. Somehow I highly doubt he’d consider you a fan, if a fan at all. Have you learned anything about patience and respect regarding your aggressive tirade to discredit your newfound hero?

      Oct 18, 2011 at 1:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      @tallest: “he can do more”

      Out of curiosity, what are you doing for the cause?

      We can all do more, not just those of us with money.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 1:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      @tallest: @iDavid: are you ill?

      I didn’t “recently severely bash Quinto” – I was critical of his reluctance to Come Out. He has since Come Out and done so in a beautiful and exceptional emotionally honest way. His message was, in a word, perfect.

      Coming Out is important, the sooner the better but better late than never.

      Oh…right…i know what you’re rambling about. You dont’ like it when “gays tell people to Come Out” which is your way of deflecting the blame onto gays, and ignoring the reality that those peopel who complain (like you) are actually already letting The Straights force you to Stay In. Yes. I remember now. “You gays can’t tell me how to live my life! I’m too busy letting straight people tell me how to live my life”

      well, good for you, Sugar.

      Coming Out is important as it helps all of us. But as I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, if one is (for whatever reason) not yet ready to stand up to be counted, they should at least have the decency to pose as a “Straight Person Who Openly Supports the LGBT Community” – which Quinto had done. And now he’s done himself one better, and I’m very proud of him.

      tallest – if you can’t specifically state what you think Quinto should be doing then who are you to tell him that it’s not enough? You think he should open a shelter? Do you know his financial status and the complications it takes to open a shelter? why don’t YOU open a shelter? how do you know that his Coming Out is the end of his queer philanthropy? are some of you just on here bitching in order to make up for what you lack in your own lives?
      methinks some of y’all ladies doth protest too much. Mhmmmmm ;-)

      Oct 18, 2011 at 5:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      p.s. david, ten bucks says you can’t back up a single one of your claims. but i’d love to see you try ;-)

      Oct 18, 2011 at 5:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iDavid
      iDavid

      Little Kiwi,

      Now way toots, you were controlling unforgiving and venomous and was in a full on demand mode to asurp his free will and force him to come out. Big dif from being mildly critical. Don’t try to sugarcoat it cupcake. That just won’t fly. You ought to apologize just in case he read it.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 5:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • iDavid
      iDavid

      Well dang if you didn’t bust me. I won’t bet you 10 but I will eat 3am crow. Sorry bud, I just checked and it was 3 other guys on another article here at Queerty a while back and I thought you were one of them. I’m actually glad it was not you because your comments are well thought out respectful and relevant. Peace out.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 5:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      yeah. thanks. i was wondering why the fuck you decided to launch a campaign against me. glad that’s cleared up.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallest
      tallest

      @fredo777: I volunteer, I give money, I do what I can. I’m not exactly well off so it’s not as much I’d like to do. I’ve always felt that saying “Hey look at me! Look what a good person I am!” cheapens my charity. But a celebrity,tactfully announcing a large donation to a charity tells a their entire fan-base that the celebrity thinks this is a worthwhile charity. And people, for whatever reason, value the opinions of the celebrities they look up to. Therefore, it can only help right?

      @Little Kiwi: I don’t know his financial status, how could I? All I’m saying is in comparison to what he could do for the LGBT cause, his coming out is minimal. I don’t open a shelter because I’m not a financially well off individual. I’d love to open a shelter, would’ve been nice if there had been one around when I was a teen. I don’t know that coming out is the end of his LGBT philanthropy, but as a celebrity, as I’ve said in this comment already, tactfully announcing a large donation to an LGBT charity would only strengthen our movement with his fan base, as it might sway a few fence sitters over to our side. And let’s face it, the ones it doesn’t convince would most likely never be on our side anyway.

      Am I making sense? I think I am anyway.

      Oct 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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